As usually happens in our technology-push society the enthusiasts of new devices and capabilities focus their energy on the transformational and life-enhancing capabilities of their wares. Fair enough. Unfortunately, however, there are always aspects to the new opportunities which create serious difficulties for people. The frustrating never-ending cycle of software updates and hardware obsolesce is now a routine part of most people’s lives. The current widespread lack of human centred design manifests itself in an infinity of issues which often seriously inconvenience people or even disrupt their lives.
The latest challenge for people’s daily routine appears to be our machines getting a little too independent for comfort. A piece in today’s London Telegraph describes claims made by US-based Security firm Proofpoint regarding the first proven Internet of Things cyberattack involving household "smart" appliances. More than 750,000 spam emails were sent from more than 100,000 home devices such as internet routers, televisions and at least one refrigerator, between December 23, 2013 and January 6, 2014. Smart devices do not currently deploy anti-virus or anti-spam software in the same way that laptops do. David Knight of Proofpoint’s Information Security division said that "Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur. Enterprises may find distributed attacks increasing as more and more of these devices come on-line and attackers find additional ways to exploit them."
Will we soon be praising the behaviour of our teenage children and staying up late at night to keep an eye on our unruly and misbehaving fridge ?